Why did Beijing downplay an “historic” climate change pact with the U.S.? Is it China’s famed reserve? Or is it to keep a lid on citizens’ post-summit APEC blues?
The economics blog, Marginal Revolution, reports the state-run People’s Daily and Beijing News newspapers barely mentioned the pact and kept the focus instead on the summit’s anti-corruption accord and progress on plans for a pan-Asian free trade zone spearheaded by China.
Beijing is under fire domestically for its unsuccessful efforts to curb local air pollution, noting that people were furious that authorities managed to clear the air for the visiting APEC dignitaries but can’t do it on a daily basis for their own citizens, Deborah Seligsohn, an expert on the Chinese environment at the University of California San Diego, told Foreign Policy. “There may be worries that focusing on climate change rather than air pollution doesn’t meet the public’s main concerns.”
For many Chinese, however, the real issue is not the air pollution itself but how the government treats long-existing problems differently when foreigners are present.